Minority Engineer Magazine, launched in 1979, is a career- guidance and recruitment magazine offered at no charge to qualified engineering or computer-science students and professionals who are African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American. Minority Engineer presents career strategies for readers to assimilate into a diversified job marketplace.
This magazine reaches minority engineers nationwide at their home addresses, colleges and universities, and chapters of student and professional organizations.
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Shooting for the Stars
Engineers shoot for the stars on the job as they urge employers to dive deeper into the diverse pool of talent in a job market that remains robust in a new year and a new decade, and to further promote growth opportunities at all levels.
This year marks not only a new year, but also a new decade - a strong one at that, too, with bright job opportunities and a strong economy. Last year ended strong, too, with 6.6 million new jobs added to the American economy since January 2017 - including the 225,000 new jobs added to the economy in January 2020.
December has also marked the 22nd straight month that there were more job openings than job seekers, allowing job seekers to gain some leverage in their search for the perfect job fit.
“The nation’s unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.5%. For 22 consecutive months the unemployment rate has been at or below 4%. Americans of all backgrounds - including African Americans (ending at the lowest rate ever at 5.4% in 2019 and down from 8% in 2016, for instance), Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Americans with disabilities - have experienced record low unemployment rates,” notes U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.
“Historic lows in unemployment and steady job gains marked a strong 2019 for the American workforce, and human capital professionals feel that this momentum will carry into 2020,” says Rebecca Henderson, CEO and executive board member of Randstad Sourceright’s global businesses.
Randstad Sourceright’s Business Health Index finds that overall business sentiment in the U.S. has risen by 11 points, based on weighted index scores when combined with its 2020 Talent Trends Report. Furthermore, 65% of C-suite and HR leaders around the world reported hiring extensively in the last 12 months.
At the same time U.S. employers also report the strongest hiring intentions in 12 years as 23% of employers across the country expect to grow their workforce in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.
And according to data from the ADP Research Institute, U.S. companies in the U.S. ramped up hiring at the start of 2020, taking on the most employees since May 2015 and indicating the labor market remains robust.
Furthermore, in addition to all of this positive economic and job market news, and as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects 8.4 million jobs to be added overall in the U.S. for a total of 169.4 million jobs by 2028, demand for engineers in all disciplines continues to rise in both the private sector and public sector.
In fact, in terms of engineering growth, BLS projects overall employment of architecture and engineering occupations is projected to grow 4% through 2028, about as fast as average for all occupations. About 113,300 new jobs are expected to be added, too.
Most of the projected job growth in this group is in the engineer occupations, as their services will be in demand in various areas such as reimagining infrastructure, creating renewable energy, implementing new strategies for cleaner oil and gas extraction, and artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotics, says BLS.
What does this all mean for engineers who are members of minority groups and diverse cultures? It means demand for engineering talents across all engineering disciplines isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Employers in the engineering disciplines, as well as in practically every profession, want to hire those with engineering expertise who gain experience via internships, co-ops, continuing education, mentorship, and networking and who strive to earn advanced degrees, MBAs and professional certifications.
All combined, it makes for the right qualifications employers are seeking. You can see that many of the respondents in Minority Engineer magazine’s 28th Annual Reader Survey embody just that. A great majority possesses this coveted overall skill set actively sought by engineering firms now and in the future.
In fact, 71% of respondents have earned an advanced degree beyond their bachelor’s degree. And this has led to 73% of them to earn more than $50,000, with 20% earning more than $70,000 and 37% earning more than $90,000 and pulling down a paycheck with six figures.
They work in a variety of disciplines and fields across the country, including software development, mechanical and industrial engineering, systems engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, geospatial engineering, environmental engineering, automotive engineering, biomedical, and computer science. Many are in engineering management. And many champion STEM.
They’ve certainly capitalized on the ebb and flow of the economy, marketed themselves the right way, and catapulted themselves into stretch assignments that showcased their abilities and growth. And they continue to capitalize on this strong economy and the labor market that’s on the side of job seekers.
They recommend that job seekers following in their footsteps shoot for the stars, be persistent, tolerant and open to all opportunities, be humble and ask questions, be honest and open, be assertive, but reasonable, and be flexible. They also advise having goals, staying focused, believing in themselves and challenging themselves.
“Seek companies with great reputations for fairness, and with in-house training and mentorship opportunities that lead you up the career ladder, and research companies for which you interview and for which you’ll ultimately work,” they say, adding, “Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, and don’t allow negative work environments to change your course or field of choice.”
However, it’s not always easy, and the survey respondents note that in their advice for employers and in what they list as the biggest issues facing engineers who are members of minority groups and diverse cultures.
Although a majority of respondents (59% versus 41%) noting they’ve not experienced discrimination on the job, respondents have felt discriminated against, marginalized and underestimated at one time or another, and have found a lack of diversity and not enough pathways to climb the career ladder. But they also say that job seekers should take heart and understand how many opportunities actually exist are for engineers.
They further implore employers to pay attention to this, and gather feedback from members of minority groups and diverse cultures already employed at their companies. They say for employers to take that information to work toward a diverse clientele and workforce, provide bias training to managers, and change to leadership that believes in equal opportunity for all.
“Treat all fairly, open doors, be sincere, honest, and open, tender constructive criticism, and don’t underestimate,” they tell employers, adding, “Offer chances to advance and plenty of upward mobility, and place engineers who are members of minority groups and diverse cultures in positions of responsibility with growth opportunities.”
This is something that the employers on the annual the Top 50 Employers and Top 20 Government Employers lists, as named by readers, already understand and do.
In what has become tradition, we totaled survey respondents’ answers about the companies for which they’d most like to work or which they believe would provide a positive working environment for engineers who are members of minority groups and diverse cultures.
Those that appear on the yearly lists, as named by readers, clearly understand that hiring a diversified engineering workforce strengthens their business.
In addition, to further understand the professional and personal accomplishments of our readers for this yearly study, Minority Engineer magazine, once again, quizzed readers - who represent undergraduate and graduate students, and entry-level employees, managers, supervisors and executives in the public and private sector - about items such as their geographic location, annual salary range, what they like most about their job and what influences their job choice.
Find this year’s survey results, and get a snapshot of this year’s, along with our annual the Top 50 Employers and Top 20 Government Employers lists, as named by readers, on the following pages in this issue.
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